Batman vs Superman Dawn of Justice Review (Contains Spoilers):
Like a lot of fans, I was eagerly waiting to see this film; even more so than Star Wars Force Awakens. I grew up watching a Michael Keaton Batman, who is still my favorite
Bruce Wayne. Christopher Reeves is still hands down, not only the best Superman but a masterful Clark Kent, who is still unmatched to this day.
Although many shared skepticism about a Ben Affleck Batman, I was not terribly thrilled but didn’t want to write him off early as a bad choice either. I know I am in the minority in this, but I liked the movie Daredevil and I thought Ben Affleck did a good job. (Could and should the movie have been better, of course, but it wasn’t as bad as many other superhero movies that came before or after Daredevil).
Henry Cavill, on the other hand, I see and still do see a lot of upside potential to being a really good Superman. He did fairly well in Man of Steel and I was hoping for him to establish his Clark Kent alter identity in his second appearance as Superman. What had me more uncertain than anything was Zach Snyder. I didn’t really care for 300 and only saw Man of Steel as the only other movie directed by him. I was leaning on the fact that he would build on Man of Steel since introductory movies are so hard to rate, since they have to reestablish the storyline from the beginning and in this case, basically try to bring back a credible Superman the audience has not seen since Christopher Reeve.
The movie starts with rehashing Batman beginnings (parent’s death, funeral, falling into cave and being introduced to bats) and then intertwines the ending of Man of Steel when General Zod is fighting Superman in Metropolis but Bruce Wayne now has been added to mix as he is driving around the city avoiding falling debris from buildings in trying to get to I don’t really know exactly ( his building in the city I assume?) We see the city falling to pieces from the ongoing battle from Bruce’s eyes. I could have done without the rehashing of Batman’s beginnings again. The dream sequence in the cave was a nice touch, but overall, everybody knows the backstory to Batman (if you have seen any of the previous movies or Gotham tv show, you know it). If anything, you can always throw little flashbacks within the movie to more or less tie together if you felt the film needed it but I could have done without it and the revisit to the destruction of Metropolis again from Man of Steel.
The Man of Steel ending seemed to drag on in its original movie showing and to have to watch it again right away, especially when I don’t see why it really matters in the story line, beyond the introduction of a minor character that starts holding a grudge against Superman for his loss of his legs…..again, probably 10-20 minutes from the beginning of this movie could have been cut or significantly shorten to bring us to the story quicker.
18 months later after Man of Steel is where the movie begins in the present day. Superman saving Lois in the desert in another country from terrorists (being setup as a vigilante who destroys, does whatever he wants to do, not so much a hero of the people) Superman and Lois are continuing their relationship from Man of Steel and Clark Kent is struggling to see why the world views him as an enemy and is more or less unapologetic about his actions (especially when it comes to saving Lois Lane from harm). Clark instead, wants to turn attention on Batman, who in Clark’s mind is the real vigilante, unchecked roaming around Gotham beating up people, branding them and killing them even at times.
Bruce Wayne, on the other hand, is older, more grim and darker than any Batman we have seen in previous live action film releases. I read before the film’s release this movie was supposed to be based off the Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns” series where Batman is in his 50s now, been retired from being the Bat for 10 years or so and then is drawn back into action, eventually to fight Superman at the pinnacle of the story. Ben Affleck doesn’t appear to being retired at all and comes out of the gate branding people with the bat sign so that once imprisoned, inmates branded by Batman will be killed by other inmates. There is no explanation to why Batman is all of sudden more cruel, more vigilante who is just beating up people not necessarily to stop crime but almost to exact an eternal unfilled need for revenge and punishes others under the guise of “fighting crime”
The movie doesn’t address this either among so many other items.
The iconic meeting between Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent at Lex Luther’s home at a party could have been so much more but was interrupted too many times and ended too soon as the heroes were sizing each other up through their day job roles.
This among other scenes, were bungled or were under done. The list continues:
-Bruce’s nightmares- why is he having them? The reason for?
-Introducing Doomsday and killing Superman
– Foreshadowing Justice League too much
– Superman’s continued under development as a hero(too much focus on Batman)
– Killing off of Jimmy Olsen after not even having have a role in Man of Steel
-As cool as Batman’s fight scene in the warehouse, how does a old, 50 year old Batman display more athleticism than any other Batman we have ever seen in a live action film.
– Lex Luthor’s portrayal. Is he Lex Luthor, criminal mastermind who is calm, cool and collected in his methodical ways to upset order in society? Or instead, is he a hybrid between the Riddler/Joker who is showing the early wear and tear of an overly medicated, stimulated millennial generation?
Now the Good…..
I know it seems I have done nothing but rip this movie apart but there were some bright spots as well.
I liked how the movie setup Superman to look like a bad guy and seeing Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne’s reasoning on why Superman needs to be contained. Basically, ” If there is nothing to stop Superman from doing whatever he wants, what happens if he wants to rule the world, destroy earth, or whatever. There is no check and balance to Superman and although we all know that Superman is good and wholesome, Lex made some solid points that didn’t obviously put him in the total “bad crazy villain role” (at least in the beginning)
There were some great imagery in the move, which of course is Zach Snyder’s specialty although he can get carried away with it. (ridiculous scenes to get an “iconic comic shot”, overuse of slow motion, etc) Wonder Woman was great and I think the movie could have used more of her, especially to draw on her chemistry with Bruce Wayne. Gal Gadot definitely will be a good Wonder Woman and I hope her own movie and her role in Justice League will be significant, because she is going to do Wonder Woman justice (which is long overdue for the Wonder Woman character)
Although, I wished the Doomsday battle, like Doomsday himself would have waited till the next movie, I did enjoy the fight scene. It wasn’t as good as Batman’s warehouse scene which was just pure Batman unleashed. I didn’t agree with an old Batman being able to move so fast, throwing people around and fighting on much more dominant scale than any other much younger Batman in previous movies.
Doomsday battle was great because of the titanic struggle between an ever growing powerful villain against 3 heroes ( although Batman was out of his league no disrespect) Doomsday could really only be stopped in one way and I think it was well done that Superman sacrifice himself to deliver the final blow. I would not have done that part any differently in the battle’s conclusion and I applaud it as one of better end battle scenes of any superhero movie I’ve ever seen.
I really wanted to like this movie. I waited so long for it to come out and there are some really good things in the movie to build on in the future of Justice League franchise.
Everyone is sold on Ben Affleck as Batman, but I’m not quite there yet. He was better than George Clooney and Val Kilmer, but that isn’t saying a whole lot as there is a huge difference in movie and concept between those lighter, more commercialized Batmans and Ben Affleck’s Dark Knight. I don’t mind a darker Batman, but I prefer him to be more moralistic than what I saw in Affleck.
This movie has too much going on in it and this is truly a case of less would be more. Save Doomsday for the next movie, less marketing of the Justice League and focus on the characters driving the story line would be a good start. Jeremy Irons, Laurence Fishburne, Amy Adams and even Henry Cavill were underutilized in this movie. Either use them and their talent or don’t bother loading up on the star power to fill these roles.
I’m really looking forward towards the DVD release of this movie because of the recent announcement of an additional 30 minutes being added, hopefully will better salvage this movie. Otherwise, I will definitely see this movie again and see if like Kevin Smith, a 2nd viewing better improves my thoughts on Dawn of Justice
Could have been better, not a total letdown but I see lost potential for a blockbuster that could have been an all time great superhero film if a few tweaks would have been made.